Las Vegas Raiders

Can The Raiders Overcome Their Red Zone Woes In Week 7?

One of the biggest issues during Jon Gruden’s second run as Las Vegas Raiders head coach was the atrocious red zone offense. Josh McDaniels was brought in this offseason due to his offensive prowess to help mitigate that. It seemed like a smart move at the time, but the Raiders’ red zone woes have continued. Coming out of the bye week, can the Silver and Black begin to fix this nagging issue?

In his final season as New England Patriots offensive coordinator, McDaniels had his offense ranked eighth in terms of red zone scoring (39 touchdowns). Naturally, Raider Nation was expecting similar results out of the gate. I mean, who could blame them when you looked at the offensive firepower McDaniels was inheriting? In particular, two tight ends that can score in Darren Waller and Foster Moreau, a premier slot receiver in Hunter Renfrow, and, of course, superstar wideout Davante Adams. Dismally, this hasn’t been the case at all.

The numbers paint an underwhelming picture for the Las Vegas Raiders

Starting with the man that runs McDaniels’ offense, Derek Carr, the Raiders’ signal-caller, hasn’t exactly been lights out in the red zone. Heading into their clash with the Houston Texans, Carr has completed 14 passes in 36 attempts so far in the red zone. That’s less than 50 percent (38.9%), but to his credit, he’s completed six touchdowns. However, judging from the team’s 1-4 record, this isn’t enough.

As it stands, the Raiders are 19th in redzone scoring with nine touchdowns when they reach that part of the field. You could make the argument that the Raiders’ passing offense as a whole is off to a slow start already. The 25th ranked passing offense as far as total yardage (1,196) doesn’t exactly scream “elite.” On Sunday, the Texans will present a unique challenge for the Raiders and another difficult test in the red zone. Lovie Smith’s defense has only allowed seven touchdowns in that area based off of 18 attempts by their opponents. They are consistently looking to make plays. Currently, the Texans are 12th and second in passing defense; yardage surrendered (1,247 yards) and touchdowns allowed (four).

Raiders OC Mick Lombardi knows that the offense will be tested on Sunday

While speaking to the media this week, Lombardi was asked about the Texans’ ability to stifle offenses in the red zone. No surprise here, but the offensive coordinator is fully cognizant of the challenge that Smith’s boys will bring. “It’s a very good red zone defense. They were a good red zone defense last season. I think it goes back to the fundamentals. They really play their scheme very well,” said Lombardi.

He also went on to emphasize taking care of the football and continuing to play disciplined football, which the Raiders have been doing (34 total penalties so far). Sooner or later, the Raiders will need to break through and start to correct their red zone woes. That’s especially true if they’re looking to make a serious run after their bye week.

Texans vs. Raiders: Lovie Smith’s Defense Can’t Be Overlooked

*Top Photo: ESPN/Raiders

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